The first season of Buffy the vampire slayer aired in 1997, when I was only seven years old. I didn't understand much english at the time, and my mother wouldn't let me watch the show, so I would sneak up past bed time, sit quietly on the stairs and watch from there, hoping that she wouldn't notice me. The vampires never terrified me, but they did scare my older sister, who insisted I slept in her bed so she'd feel safer.
When all the other girls wanted to wear pretty dresses and be Disney princesses, I wanted to be just like Buffy. I didn't want to be a pretty girl, waiting for prince charming to come and find me. I wanted to be a strong girl, who could take care of herself. When all the other girls were pretending to be popstars and celebrities, I was pretending to be Buffy. As I watched Buffy and Angel fall in love on screen, I, too, wanted a vampire boyfriend. As I watched Willow practice witchcraft, I, too, wanted to learn how to cast spells. But, of course, I knew it was all fiction.
Once in a while there were a few episodes that gave me nightmares. One of them was "Killed by death" (season 2, episode 18), in which there's an invisible demon that only sick children can see. As someone who was often suffering from fever due to an allergic reaction, you can imagine how terrifying this was for me. Especially once the fever fantasies kicked in. I consider it a miracle that I didn't scare myself into an early heart attack when I was younger.
Re-watching Buffy as an adult makes me realize things I didn't notice as a child. Like how they used low quality cameras throughout all seven seasons, and how some episodes seem to be a quick fix, as in 'something went wrong, let's fix it with a spell'. I can't help but notice that the werewolf costumes look like they've been bough on some left over halloween sale.
Re-watching the show in 2017 also makes me wonder if it was the love story between sixteen year old Buffy and the two-hundred-and-something year old vampire Angel that inspired the writers of modern vampire movies such as the twilight saga and the vampire diaries.
As a twenty six year old I can also understand many of the sexualized jokes in the show, that I didn't understand when I was younger, and appreciate how creative the show really is.
Even today there are some epsiodes that gives me the creeps. Such as "hush" (season 4, episode 10) and "normal again" (season 6, episode 17). There are episodes that breaks my heart, such as "passion" (season 2, episode 17) and "the body" (season 5, episode 16), and there are characters that I appreciate even more now than I did when I was younger, and relate to on a much deeper level, such as Anyanka.
DID YOU WATCH BUFFY WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER?
(if not, get season 1-7 here! DVD, area code 2; europe)